Depression is a Lonely Disease

Depression and anxiety, two conditions that go hand in hand, run in my family, leading me to believe that mental illness is genetic. Some say mental illness is often the result of a dysfunctional upbringing, which may be true in part, but inherited genes determine personality, also. Even though several in my family suffer from depression/anxiety, the level of intensity and the way in which each person deals with the disease is very different.

In my case, I am deeply aware that my cycles of sorrow, anger, worry, and despair negatively effect the people closest to me, especially my husband and sons. Because I refuse to let my misery become their misery, I work very hard to control my emotions, and when I can’t, I’m honest about my feelings, and I retreat to a place of solitude to weep and yell and pray to God. In this way, I willingly accept my depression, asking God for help to overcome my deadly thoughts. After spending time alone in prayer, I can return to my family without the wrathful anger burning inside me that, in the past, would often erupt into bitter offenses.

Throughout a lifetime, I’m learning to accept depression/anxiety as a part of my personality but it’s not who I am. I feel joy in the midst of sorrow; I suffer misery while loving my family; I have hope for tomorrow when today is hopeless; I embrace life courageously and reject death as an option. I worry about the future, but trust that God is always there, waiting for me to call out to Him.

Anxiety!

I stand and sit, sit and stand

Wondering where I’ve been?

Pacing the floors, each pace

Wanting the pain to erase.

Instead it lingers, etched within,

The hurt remains;

I call out again!

Grace is All We Need

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Dad and me in May 2018.

Grace is All We Need

You said, “Thank you,”

When I hugged your frail body

I was overwhelmed with your gratitude

Because we decided to come see you

There’s something you know that we don’t

You know this is not good

You know there is something seriously wrong

So you’re thankful your children came,

And we all came because you’re our Dad

We want to honor you

While distance keeps some of us physically apart

Our connection is spiritually linked

When I pray to God for you

I can hear your voice, Dad

And you’re telling me

“Take care of your mother, Kristin,”

And I promise, Dad, we will

As you express gratitude for each of your children

All four of us coming to see you,

Loving you in our own way,

Giving you hugs, kisses, and words of encouragement

We want you to be comfortable

We want you to have peace

We must accept this inevitable reality that you already know,

The truth that there is something very wrong

It looks like you’re being called home, Dad

And it’s so difficult to watch

Far away, home in my distant state

I’m in touch with my brother and sister

My mom and my cousin are keeping me updated

And by all accounts, it’s not good

You’re falling asleep, Dad

With some pain

With much sorrow

And I can only bear it

Because I believe in the faith you gave us

You’re going to live for eternity

In Heaven, with God and all the souls who love you

In the end, this is our faith, Dad

And Grace is all we need.

I love you, Dad, may you live forever with God in paradise, Amen!

Receive God’s Breath

I wrote this poem for my husband’s younger brother who died in 2014. His birthday was remembered last month by all of us who love him. Pondering all the loved ones who have died in years past and my dad who is currently fighting a deadly disease, I find hope in God and his promise of eternal life. Faith, Hope, and Love, in the end, that’s all there is…

Never Give Up; Never Give In

Hope in healing
Hope in healing

Depression and hope are opposing forces that can be balanced with a commitment to never give up and never give in, filling the heart with sorrow and joy. The sorrow comes when relationships are difficult, and joy comes when relationships are enduring. However, living with the personality of depression encourages the acceptance of ‘blame’ for relationship problems, which can lead to self-loathing and broken friendships. Still, healing choices must be made and both sorrow and joy are the result. Deciding to leave a toxic relationship or stay in it takes courage, and whatever the decision, self-worth must remain intact. For those of us who live with depression, finding self-love is a daily pursuit. Never give up and never give in, no matter what the voices say.

Unapproachable You

You’re unapproachable, don’t you know

Your transparent anger keeps others away

Offended by everything, you turn and go

Unwilling to fight for a friend and stay.

You think you must be liked for who you are

High in the universe, you refuse to beg

Believing you have already gone too far

Standing alone, there’s much you’ve said.

You speak the truth, with all its pain

Death and decay created by life and growth

Completely alone, you drown in the rain

Consumed by the evil you so deeply loathe.

Perfection is your desire for everyone else

For yourself you want respect for your faults

You live life wanting it fueled by generous wealth

And poverty rules with your daily serving of loss.

Depression has become your loyal best friend

Always there for as long as you can remember

Everyone smiles even when your friendships end

Because deep emotions are too much of a bother.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/16230215@N08/8432852019″>The only Reality</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

The Tree In Me

God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on the trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars. -Martin Luther
God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on the trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars. -Martin Luther

 

As a child, I loved to climb a tree and feel its protective strength. As an adult, I love to sit beneath a tree and listen to the silently wise message it speaks.

The Tree in Me

I love the trees

Nurturing comfort they bring

Whenever I sit beneath

Their fluttering calming leaves.

They speak to me quietly

I love their gentle way

Whispering wind through their branches

Crack and sway with thoughtful creaks. 

Oh! How I love the trees

So spiritual, strong, and faithful

Reaching for the life-giving light

Protecting the saplings below. 

So much more than that

They give me all I need

Food, shelter, the very air I breathe

Giving so much and so little to take. 

In this relationship, person and tree

I take and take, you give and give

But then you ask me so sweetly

“Please, will you help me to live?”

By Kristin  A. Ball

Planting trees is a simple way to make a big difference for our environment and for growing our future. Check out Arbor Day Foundation for great resources and guidance in renewing our trees so they will live on and on and on.

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/39498436@N02/21029143699″>Worship the sun.</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

 

 

I Say It’s My Birthday!

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I plan to eat my birthday cake like I’m one year old!

Today is my birthday, and it’s true, I’m getting older. Forty-nine and feeling fine? Sure, but I don’t feel as ‘fine’ as I did in my younger years. Yes, it’s a ‘happy’ day, but at the same time, it is ‘sad’ because time goes by so quickly, and many memories may hold some regrets.

Today is my birthday, and I’m grateful for getting older. The following birthday poem I wrote for my sister many years ago, and I wanted to share it today because it speaks to me. I’m joyful yet sorrowful for this awesome gift to celebrate another birthday anniversary.

Birthday Anniversary

Each year our birthday forces us to grow
Into the person whom we have yet to know
With circumstances that hopefully have made us wise
When we learn from our multitude of mistakes and tries.

To take a long look at these years gone past
To really reflect on how time travels fast
To know that every day that each of us lives
Is a great gift from God that He lovingly gives.

So as you celebrate another passing year again
On this day that marks the beginning of the moment when
You entered this world for a purposeful plan
Just remember your worth doesn’t come from man.

Your worth comes from our Creator who made you unique
Who gave you knowledge and words to speak
Who doesn’t care about a past success or failure
But only cares about your heart that His presence makes pure.

False paths, lost dreams, wrong choices, it’s true
Fills your past as well as everyone else’s, too
There may be those lost memories that hinder your day
But with God in your mind the regrets soon melt away.

Cherish this day and who you’re growing to be
This special person that all of us already see
Embrace this coming year and live each day anew
By becoming the excellent one God created in you. 

 

Simple Joy

Mmmm, Cookies!
Mmmm, Cookies!

It’s amazing the simple joy a delicious cookie can bring to a melancholy heart. It is true that comfort foods can help ease the pain during times of sorrow, and for me, cookies are at the top of the list. A few years ago, I wrote the following poem after baking and sharing Christmas cookies (Betty Crocker cookie recipes). As I live the early days of this new year, I want to make every day a time to share the simple joys of life. Today, I savored a few shortbread cookies with my husband, and it made me smile.

Cookies!

Cookies! Cookies!

They are so good!

So have a cookie

(or two)

I wish you would.

Take a napkin and

Place the cookie atop

You can eat it on the go

With no need to stop.

Cookies! Cookies!

Are so much more

Than a sweet, circular treat

Filled with goodness galore!

Cookies! Cookies!

Are made with love,

No beginning or end

Like God above!

Enjoy your cookie

It is so good,

Please take it with you

I wish you would!